Archive for the ‘Purchasing’ Category
Building information modeling (BIM) has been around for about 40 years now. Yes! You read that right – 40 years. Though in the 1970s when the concept was developed, BIM (as we know it today) wasn’t really implemented until the late 1980s. So I guess we can say, it has been a little slow taking hold. However, as time has zipped on and technology has improved, BIM implementation has rapidly increased.
Building information modeling started as a production of 3D design models to help catch architectural system variances and clashes. Since then, it has become an effective tool in project management and ever more prominent in job cost estimating.
Traditionally, estimators begin their process by doing manual take-offs or digitizing architectural construction drawings. Or possibly, they may be importing CAD plans into an estimating software package. The thing about these processes is that they all have higher risk of error by way of unknowingly incurring an omission or duplication. This has the potential to logarithmically propagate cost errors throughout the estimating process.
Using a BIM solution can significantly reduce (though not completely deny) human error. As the project experiences changes, as they always do, the model can be updated. If properly configured, the BIM should update the takeoffs, schedule, and costing data for the project as the changes occur.
After the BIM is established, pricing information is the next critical set of data which needs to be considered. Estimators can extract the quantities provided by the building information modeling solution and output the information via linking it to a product such as Sage 300 CRE. From here, an estimator may generate estimates based on historical data.
Some of the most critical tasks in estimating are having accurate and current takeoff information, and applying that to accurate pricing and scheduling data. BIM solutions can help to make the quantification tasks easier and more accurate. The integration of this data into an estimating solution can mean that estimators are more accurate and can spend their time and knowledge doing higher value activities.
At the January 2009, International Roofing Expo at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, I spoke with several owners of roofing companies about the software they use for cost accounting, estimating and project management. In a couple of the breakout training sessions, there was a general agreement that Sage Timberline Accounting is recognized as the best cost accounting software for medium to large roofing companies. This made me happy since I represent Sage Timberline. There was also alot of rumblings about consolidating all of the various softwares into a single integrated software that can handle processes of a typical roofing company. For example, roofing companies need Customer Relationship and Sales Tracking software which is commonly referred to as (CRM software). CRM software is more important to Residential Roofing companies opposed to Commercial Roofing companies. These companies would love a solution that allowed the CRM software to track and create sales proposals and then flow seamlessly into the Cost Accounting software if the work is awarded. From here, the accounting department can buy the materials, manage the job and bill the client.